California - Poem by Ambrose Bierce
Why should he not have been allowed
To thread with peaceful feet the crowd
Which filled that Christian street?
The Decalogue he had observed,
From Faith in Jesus had not swerved,
And scorning pious platitudes,
He saw in the Beatitudes
A lamp to guide his feet.
He knew that Jonah downed the whale
And made no bones of it. The tale
That Ananias told
He swore was true. He had no doubt
That Daniel laid the lions out.
In short, he had all holiness,
All meekness and all lowliness,
And was with saints enrolled.
'Tis true, some slight excess of zeal
Sincerely to promote the weal
Of this most Christian state
Had moved him rudely to divide
The queue that was a pagan's pride,
And in addition certify
The Faith by making fur to fly
From pelt as well as pate?
But, Heavenly Father, thou dost know
That in this town these actions go
For nothing worth a name.
Nay, every editorial ass,
To prove they never come to pass
Will damn his soul eternally,
Although in his own journal he
May read the printed shame.
From bloody hands the reins of pow'r
Fall slack; the high-decisive hour
Strikes not for liars' ears.
Remove, O Father, the disgrace
That stains our California's face,
And consecrate to human good
The strength of her young womanhood
And all her golden years!
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